The Real Thing
Sunday, May 31, 2020 - 8 Sivan 5780
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The Real Thing
One of the wonders of genetic engineering: scientists have identified the genes in fruit that are responsible for flavor. They spliced these isolated genes into the DNA of bacteria, which now produce these flavor molecules, identical to the natural substance. These engineered molecules can be added to manufactured fruit drinks and taste the same (almost?) as fresh-squeezed fruit juice.

The food industry now produces a vast array of artificial flavorings and scents. The effects of these substances on our health is still up for debate. What is certain is that it is getting more and more difficult to distinguish between the artificial flavor and the real thing.

In the spiritual arena as well, we are faced with numerous counterfeits. Ancient and modern philosophies alike promise us to get in touch with our inner soul and improve our quality of life. From the east and the west, new pathways are emerging, guaranteeing us the ultimate fulfillment, peace and well-being. Young people run to all corners of the world, to great expense in time and money, searching for elusive salvation. The results thus far have largely been zero.

To their credit, few of the -isms of today promise global deliverance. The last such attempt was most likely communism, which ushered in an era of unprecedented cruelty and bloodshed. Now the promises are mostly confined to the personal arena, and the only profit is in drawing in young, searching souls with money to burn.

Out of many failed attempts, today it is clear that only we, the Jewish people, have an approach that works across the board: the approach of Torah. For thousands of years it has been proven time and again that when we cling to this path we merit a full and enriched life, regardless of our circumstances. Even people who went through true horrors were not “broken,” but used their life experiences to rebuild, to become more refined and sensitive. This is what it means to become a man.

Beyond the personal fulfillment it promises, the path of Torah is also the only true way to bring the Redemption to the entire world. It is the culmination of the work and efforts of all generations of humanity that came before us. When we study Torah, particularly Torah sources on the topic of Redemption, this is the most direct pathway to begin to experience the Redemption, on a personal and global level.


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